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Should You Be Worried About Lectins?


I love eating different grains and beans. In fact, one of my favourite meals is lentils and rice. But there’s a growing buzz about lectins in these foods. Are lectins the new gluten? Here are 5 things you need to know.

1. Lectins are a family of proteins that bind to carbohydrates. Lectins are found in all foods, but are most concentrated in legumes and grains. Uncooked, raw legumes such as red and white kidney beans are one of the biggest sources of lectins. Lectins help protect plants from attacks by pests and insects.

2. Lectins aren’t easily digested, so they pass through the stomach and into the gut where they may “stick” to the gut wall. Eating high amounts of lectins may damage the lining of the gut, potentially causing digestive issues. For example, eating RAW or undercooked or improperly cooked kidney beans can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

3. Some people, such as those with Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel syndrome, may be more sensitive to lectins. If you have these conditions, speak to a Registered Dietitian to determine the amount of lectins that will minimize any symptoms or flare-ups.

4. Cooking eliminates almost all of the lectins in foods. Boiling legumes and grains in water for example is an easy way to get rid of lectins. Soaking beans, sprouting seeds and grains, and fermenting foods are other ways to lower the lectin content of foods. Canned beans have very low lectin levels due to the canning process.

5. Remember that many lectin-containing foods also provide important nutrients. Grains offer B vitamins, iron and fibre. Legumes offer protein, fibre, iron and zinc. So don’t worry about lectins. Instead, cook your grains and legumes, and enjoy!

What A Dietitian Eats

Sue Kelsey

As one of my monthly segments on CTV Your Morning, I thought it would be fun to do a little show and tell of my meals in a day. So here we go…this is what a dietitian eats!

Watch the interview here!

Breakfast – Veggie and cheese omelet

breakfast omelet

For breakfast, I try to make sure that I’m getting protein and veggies, so an omelet is perfect! Eggs are a great source of protein and the egg yolk is filled with nutrients such as lutein, omega-3 fat and choline. I add a slice of whole wheat toast for wholesome carbs and fibre. If I know my morning will be super busy, then I’ll make the omelet the night before and just heat it up in the morning for a quick breakfast.

Lunch – Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

lunch lentil shep pie

I love lentils! This is a fantastic vegetarian, plant-based lunch and a lighter version of your typical Shepherd’s Pie. Find the recipe here. Again, I’m looking for protein and veggies in my meal – lentils provide the protein and iron; carrots and stewed tomatoes count towards my veggies. The mashed potato topping is actually mixed with some cottage cheese to boost the calcium count. I pair this meal with some fresh fruit such as strawberries and kiwi – the vitamin C in the fruit improves the iron absorption from the lentils. My plan is to make this recipe on the weekend and re-heat it for a fast and nutrition packed lunch.

Afternoon Snack – Coffee, peanuts and fresh fruit

coffee snack

My mornings start at 6 am, so by mid afternoon, I’m feeling like I need an energy boost. A little bit of caffeine and some protein help me stay alert. Coffee is a treat for me – with double cream and double sugar! I aim to eat at least one green veggie and at least one orange veggie or fruit every day – I’m choosing a peach which is in season now. Peanuts are great for protein and they also contain magnesium which helps to fight stress.

Dinner – Baked salmon with quinoa arugula salad

Dinner salmon

I try to eat fish at least twice a week. Salmon is my go-to for heart healthy omega-3 fats, and it’s super easy to cook in the toaster oven. This is an Asian inspired recipe with a soy sauce and sesame oil marinade. I make a batch of quinoa ahead of time and use it in different ways throughout the week. Here, I’ve tossed some quinoa with arugula and added in some roasted beets and corn kernels. I set a goal to include at least 2 types of veggies at dinner time and make half my plate veggies.

Dessert – Fresh fruit salad with a small piece of dark chocolate

I usually have fresh fruit for dessert. Sometimes I’ll pair the fruit with a piece of dark chocolate. I love to bake, and never turn down a homemade cookie or slice of apple pie with ice cream!

Easy Lunch Ideas for Back to School

Sue Heather beet hummus

A study by researchers at the University of British Columbia found that Canadian children are not eating enough vegetables and fruit during the school day.

The first of its kind, this study looked at 4,827 children across Canada between the ages of six and 17. Using a 24 hour recall, their dietary intakes from 9 am to 2 pm was scored against a School Healthy Eating Index. The Index looks at 11 specific criteria based on Canada’s Food Guide’s recommendations, such as intake of vegetables and fruit, whole grains, milk products and meat and alternatives.

Here are the highlights from the research:
– 1/3 of daily calories (about 750 calories) are consumed at school; almost 25% of these calories came from “other foods” such as candy bars and salty packaged snacks
– Kids are falling short on vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium and protein
– The lowest scores were for green and orange vegetables, whole fruit, whole grains and milk products
– The average score was 53.4 out of a possible 100 points
– Teens’ diets scored worse than that of younger kids aged six to eight

Here are a few of my lunch ideas, as shown on my interview with CBC Morning Live today.

Chickpea Lettuce Wrap – Kids are attracted to colours in their meals! A great protein packed and flavourful recipe! Add a glass of milk or fortified soy beverage to round out the meal.
Chickpea lettue wrap

Chicken Pasta Salad – My daughter won 3rd prize in a recipe contest for this recipe when she was in grade 3. Ask your kids to grate the carrots and chop the cucumbers. Balance the lunch with a serving of yogurt.
Chicken Pasta Salad

Beet Hummus with Veggies – Kids love to dip! A great way to team up protein plus produce in the lunchbox! Add mini pitas with cheese cubes for a nutritious lunch.
Beet hummus

Apple Sailboats – It’s as easy as it looks! Slice an apple into wedges and dip in lemon juice to prevent browning. Cut cheese into triangles and attach with a toothpick. Add a handful of whole grain crackers to complete the meal.
Apple sailboats

Zucchini Waffles – Breakfast for lunch, why not? These waffles are made with grated zucchini. (Sneak in the veggies wherever you can!) Add a hard cooked egg or small piece of cooked meat / poultry for protein. Mix a few extra berries with yogurt for “dessert”.
Zucchini Waffles with Fresh Berries

Men’s Nutrition

Sue Ben 3

June is National Men’s Health Month! Do men need a sports or protein drink? Is it true that beer causes a beer belly? Did you know men need more fibre than women? And what foods are best to prevent prostate cancer and gout?

I met up with Ben Mulroney on CTV Your Morning to chat about these questions!

Watch the interview video and get the answers!

Sue Ben 1rev

Veggies Made Easy

eggplant pizza 1

Do you find it challenging to eat enough veggies? 60% of Canadian adults and 70% of kids aren’t getting enough fruit or veggies every day. Let’s take 3 different veggies and make 3 super easy recipes: Brussels Sprouts Salad, Cauliflower Popcorn, and Eggplant Pizza! 

Watch my TV interview clip.

Sue Kelsey nutrition month veggies

Creamy Apple and Shaved Brussels Sprouts Slaw Salad


1 – 9 oz package Mann’s Shaved Brussels Sprouts
1 tart apple (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored and chopped
¼ cup golden raisins
2 T mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Zest of 1 lemon
2 T plus 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup olive oil

1. Whisk the mayonnaise with mustard, lemon zest, juice, sugar and salt. Whisk the oil in slowly.
2. Combine the Shaved Brussels Sprouts, apple and golden raisin and toss with the dressing.
3. May be served right away or refrigerated until serving.

Makes 4 servings. Recipe source:

Roasted Cauliflower

roasted cauliflower

1 cauliflower, chopped into small pieces (or buy pre-cut/pre-chopped cauliflower)
3 T olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder

1. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil with the spices.
2. Pour oil mixture over cauliflower and toss to coat.
3. Spread the cauliflower in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
4. Bake at 450°F for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crispy.

Makes 6 servings.

Eggplant Pizza

eggplant pizza 3

2 medium eggplants, sliced into 1 inch rounds
3 T olive oil
1 cup pizza sauce
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup onion, sliced
1 cup green pepper, sliced
½ cup pepperoni
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 425°F, coat parchment lined baking sheet with olive oil.
2. Arrange eggplant on sheet and flip to evenly coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 15-20 minutes.
3. Once time has elapsed, flip and season, return to oven for an additional 10 minutes.
4. Remove from oven, top with pizza sauce, veggies of your choice, and mozzarella cheese. Return to oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Makes 4-6 servings. Recipe source:

5 Foods to Keep Your Heart Healthy!

Heart healthy foods Feb 20 2017 - Sue L - 1

February is Heart Month! Did you know that 9 out of 10 adults have at least one risk factor for heart disease? The good news is that eating the right foods can keep your heart healthy.

Watch my interview on CTV Your Morning

Whole grains
Barley and oats specifically contain a special type of fibre called beta-glucan. This type of fibre has been shown to lower blood cholesterol which is important since high blood cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. The beneficial amount is 3 grams of beta-glucan fibre which is found in 1 cup of cooked barley or 1½ cups of cooked oatmeal.

Try this recipe – Vegetable, Bean & Barley Stuffed Peppers


Research shows that eating about 1.5 to 3.5 servings of nuts 5 times or more per week can also lower the bad LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol. All nuts have high proportions of healthy fats – these are called monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – and it’s these fats which help to reduce our cholesterol levels. Nuts are packed with nutrition like protein, vitamin E, selenium, folate and even calcium but the calories do add up, so keep in mind that a portion size is about ¼ cup. One easy way to eat more nuts is to eat them as a snack. Or you can easily add nuts to your oatmeal, in your baking recipes or in a stir-fry.

Soy protein

About 20-25 grams of soy protein helps to lower blood cholesterol levels. Plus soy protein is a great vegetarian protein. To get this amount of soy protein, try any one of these options:
– ¾ cup cooked tofu or
– ¾ cup cooked edamame beans or
– 1 cup fortified soy beverage with ¼ cup roasted soy nuts

Fatty fish such as salmon, rainbow trout, artic char, mackerel and sardines are super sources of heart healthy omega-3 fats. These omega-3 fats can reduce inflammation and blood clotting. Aim to fish at least twice a week. A serving is 75 g of cooked fish or about the size and thickness of your palm.

Try this recipe – Salmon with Peanut Cucumber Relish

Veggies and Fruit
You can’t go wrong eating more fruit and veggies. Fruit and veggies are superstars for fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which protect us from not just heart disease but other health conditions too such as high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes. As a general rule, try to have 1-2 servings of veggies or fruit at every meal and snack. Or just think of filling half your plate with veggies and fruit at every meal.

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